November 2, 2016
The Dallas Cowboys got what could be http://www.espn.com/nfl/game?gameId=400874629">a season-defining win. Dallas found a way to win on a night Dak http://www.espn.com/blog/dallas-cowboys/post/_/id/4755237/dak-prescotts-worst-game-brought-his-best-moment">Prescott looked every bit like a rookie quarterback.
After a good start in the first quarter, http://www.espn.com/blog/dallas-cowboys/post/_/id/4755283/poor-footwork-doomed-prescott-before-he-found-late-rhythm-against-eagles">Prescott began to struggle. A lot of credit for those struggles should go to the Philadelphia Eagles defense, which found ways to confuse and put pressure on the rookie quarterback.
Prescott’s throws in the second and third quarter looked rushed, and his footwork was sloppy, as Philadelphia didn’t allow him to keep a clean pocket. With the help of his defense, he still ended up keeping the game close as it headed into the fourth quarter.
When it became winning time, Prescott led the Cowboys back from a double-digit deficit to beat the Eagles in overtime. He reached a new level of growth as a professional. He figured out a way to win when things weren’t going right for him. Any quarterback can win when everything goes perfect, but a real NFL quarterback finds ways to win a game when things aren’t going right.
This doesn’t mean that the Cowboys won’t use Tony Romo at some point this season. As teams get more tape on Prescott, they will find out what he is good at, what he struggles at, what plays he likes to run, what throws he struggles to make, and so forth.
It could mean that he will struggle more this season and might even need to be replaced. Or he could keep finding ways to learn and overcome what other teams will try each week.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said that Prescott will start this week. Jones is going to kick the can on the question of when or if Romo will return to the starting lineup, as long as he can keep kicking.
It makes sense if it doesn’t undermine Prescott’s development. At least in private, head coach Jason Garrett should go to both quarterbacks and give them the plan for the rest of this season.
Prescott is now 6-1 as a starter and has http://www.espn.com/nfl/standings">beat all three teams that, at this moment, have a losing record. In his first seven starts, Prescott has played four teams that currently have a winning record, and he is 3-1 in those games. He will have a chance to lead this team to a division title and a playoff berth, but http://www.espn.com/nfl/team/schedule/_/name/dal">the road is going to get rougher.
Dallas plays the Cleveland Browns this week as they play three straight games against AFC North foes. The Cowboys face the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens to finish their tour of the AFC North.
After this week, the Cowboys will face four out of five teams that currently have a winning record. Dallas faces the Steelers and Ravens, along with the Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants.
The team faces the 3-4 Buccaneers before finishing the season against the 4-4 Lions and the 4-3 Eagles. That’s six of nine games against teams that currently have records at .500 or better.
We will find out if Prescott is made for the long haul in the NFL. If his play doesn’t slip enough for Romo to replace him this season, Prescott is the quarterback for Dallas now and for the future.